|17/12/06 - 22.27|
I have accepted a role on Gizbuzz, where from now on I will be writing occassional web 2.0 based posts. Thanks to Huw for organising this.
You may expect to see fewer posts on this blog because of this, and you would be right. But worry not – you can catch all of my posts between this blog and Gizbuzz.
|17/12/06 - 13.43|
1. Large Scale – Facebook.
2. Widgets & Add Ons – Stickam.
3. Social News & Bookmarking – Reddit.
4. Sports – No nomination.
5. Photo Sharing – Flickr.
6. Video Sharing – YouTube.
7. Start Pages – iGoogle
8. Places & Events – Upcoming.org
9. Music – Last.fm
10. Social Shopping – No nomination.
11. Mobile – Twitter.
12. Niche – Stu.dicio.us
|19/11/06 - 11.18|
If you want to take the “upgrade” to Live Mail beta from Hotmail then you can do it right away. All you need to do is look for the link shown below in the sidebar of your hotmail account.
Give a click and you will get a page with a lot of information about the new service. I would advise that you check out my alternative review of the service (part 1, part 2) which suggests it is less of an upgrade than the Live Mail team do. Anyway next you need to click on the sign up link at the top right side of the screen.
Then agree to this agreement:
And that is it.
I think you will find when you click the link on this page you will instantly have you Live Mail account. See what you think, I am not a big fan – but you may like it. You may find the following instructions useful.
Degrading from Live Mail Beta
Login to your Live Mail account. And click Options in the top right.
Then look in the left hand pane for “Switch to MSN Hotmail”.
Now read this message from the team begging you to stick with the service. And ignore it – press “Switch Back”.
And that’s it.
|11/11/06 - 14.46|
Stu.dicio.us everyone’s favourite note taking website is getting a major overhaul in the next few weeks. I have made a few notes on it so far but right now it does have some limitations. I look forward to what the new release brings.
Keep your eyes on blog.dicio.us for more.
|25/09/06 - 15.17|
Imagine if the Internet was just websites about web browsers. And for the purposes of this post assume that all you can do with a web browser is surf the internet. The internet would be completely useless. You could use to get all the details on all of the different browsers. Which you could supposedly then download and try. And if you made the switch you could view all of the content about all of the different browsers slightly differently. So the whole internet would be about the possibility of changing the way you view information which is all about changing the way you view the information. It is cyclic.
It’s like having a colour changer that just changes the colour of the colour changer. It’s like using an iPod just to listen to podcasts about the next iPod. Or like buying a Mac and just using it to talk on MacRumors about the next Mac. It’s like having a forum where you can only post about updates to that forum’s software. Or having a blog that you just use to detail the changes you are making to the layout of the posts. It’s like just having TV programmes about winning TV sets. It is pointless.
The key word in this post is “just”. If you have browser sites, and other sites then the internet is useful, and so are the browser sites. Similarly with the other examples. If you listen to more podcasts than those about iPods, then suddenly the technology has been useful. But at the moment it seems a lot of new media is about new media. I can get a lot more podcasts that continually talk about podcasting than I can about any other subject. The best example I have ever seen of this is the Tom Green show. Where they are producing a live Internet TV show, but all they ever talk about is how great it is that they can do this live TV show. And how groundbreaking it is.
I am not saying these new strands of media are not going anywhere. I am just asking you to be careful with the amount of meta you broadcast. For this reason, this post needs to be kept short. About this long is ideal.
|21/09/06 - 15.04|
Today I wrote a final plea to Hotmail Support. Here it goes:
Dear Christopher A., Christian M., Christian N., Anne Marie O., Christina S., Vendrelli R., Jimmy B., Janet B., Leo and Mark Anthony F.,
I write to you 201 days since my initial request. Yes two hundred and one days. That is 6 months and 17 days. Interestingly all 10 of the representatives that have written back have indicated that the suggestion I made was a good one and would be included in an upcoming release. Unfortunately however somewhere along the line you misbranded adding a help article as a some sort of product upgrade, rather than the simple task of writing a few words it is.
Never have I had a response from any representative that wasn’t highly canned. The template is very clear by now and the deviations from it are often embarrassingly slight. No one seems to be capable of actually doing anything at your end. Yes you can write back, but can you get anything done? No. Of course not.
So in the 201 days that have passed what have you done towards the article? Lets summarise your progress. All 10 of you have done… precisely nothing. You said that time restrictions made it difficult to write. So I wrote the article for you. Why didn’t that speed things up? Why isn’t my article on your site now?
Why is the paper pushing in your office such a significant part of your job that it is now all that you do? Why has one of the world’s largest companies got the most useless support team?
I am doing everything I can to publicise my experiences with your team. And of course I am still desperately pushing to get the article published on your site. The high profile ex-Microsoft employee Robert Scoble commented on the issue with “If I were on the Hotmail team I’d just put up an article that simply linked to this guy’s post”.
You’ve lied to me. You’ve ignored my requests. You’ve done precisely nothing to help the situation. And still I bet you’ll come back with an automated email. Listen. I don’t want your automated rubbish. Delete the template. Don’t bother to email back if it means you can get the article done quicker. Just “The article is up” would be very good.
I ask again and again to have the contact details of your manager. And of course I don’t get them. But I’ll ask again. What is the email address of your immediate manager?
As always my article is online and copyright free for you to use at http://sam.davyson.com/hotmail and every email between me and your team is published at http://sam.davyson.com/hotmail/story .
Remember when you reply, your response will join that record.
If you are not familiar with this campaign: I am trying to get a Hotmail help article that states Hotmail do not send forwards as a means to tell their customers that accounts are closing. Seemingly simple. But apparently not. Read all the emails, or just a summary.
If you think your Hotmail account is closing, because of a forward you received. The good news is it is not. Please don’t forward the message to anyone.
|18/09/06 - 23.20|
Zoho Writer today launched the possibility of opening office documents that you find online in their online editor. This completely cuts out the desktop application. Previously users would have to download the document and then open it in their word processor. To me at least this new way of getting at documents sounds like it is going to be quicker. And if you are using Zoho Writer to make and edit all of your documents then obviously it is best to get your documents straight into Zoho rather than having to upload it later.
How Does It Work
You download a plugin to use in your browser (IE and Firefox) and then you can right click to get the option to open the file in Zoho Writer. The plugin has a nice options window that lets you decide whether you want it opening in a new tab, a new window, or the tab you were in. It works on .doc, .rtf, .odt, or .sxw files. Similar services for their spreadsheet and powerpoint systems are also being released today.
Of the file formats that work .doc is the most common you see on the web, so I decided to use it for the test. I uploaded a small document of 32 kb to my web server and then I tried to open it via both of the methods. I started with Microsoft Word closed as that is my normal state. Here is the link to the document so that you can submit your findings in terms of times to load in the comments:
My timings from the time I clicked to the time I could read the document were:
Microsoft Word – 9 seconds.
Zoho Writer – 6 seconds.
Now lets try something a little different. Something a little harder. This time the file is 204 pages long and 960 kb. You can download them using these links:
Microsoft Word – 14 seconds.
Zoho Writer – 24 seconds.
So it looks like Zoho Writer is much slower than Microsoft Word with longer documents. Hopefully they can work on the script that they have running their end to try to get this time down. But significantly the time is comparable to using Word, and therefore if you were using Zoho for all your writing this would be a good solution. Since if the time for Word had to include reuploading and importing into Zoho then the direct Zoho import would definately win out.*
Problems For Zoho
Google and Zoho seem to me to now be the two companies most advanced down the Office 2.0 line. But Google already has a lot of people grabbed. And it’s products are getting more and more sticky. The day we see this particular tool appear for Google’s word processor, Writely, then Google could put the link right next to the Word document in the Gmail message. This sort of cornering is not available to Zoho. Obviously using plugins like those they have released you could always right click to get it in Zoho. But it is one more click. We’ll have to wait and see how it works out. Integration often comes at the expense of a free market.
*Note that right now it is not actually possible to directly import the content to your Zoho account using the new tools. But Arvind of Zoho assures me that this is coming soon.
|17/09/06 - 02.17|
Omnidrive is a very web 2.0 file storage company based in Australia. The idea is that storing files on a remote server should be just as easy as storing files on a local drive. Of course in reality it isn’t, so Omnidrive’s desktop clients bridge this gap in an effort to make online storage as seamless as possible.
On Windows it appears in an explorer window. Very similar to how any other explorer window looks. And it is great. You can fiddle with your files just how you want to as if they were on the hard drive of your computer. And on the Mac it is mounted in the Finder so it appears almost exactly like an external drive.
That is, if you can get it to work.
When I tried to install the Mac client I got this window:
I reported this to Omnidrive staff on numerous occassions. But they never got back to me. Anyway the other day I got a new external hard drive and I ran the installation again except this time selecting the external drive as the installation destination. It worked fine and then I was able to drag the program into my Applications folder. A bit of a work around but it now works fine.
I know what you are thinking. What is the point of having your stuff stored or backed up with Omnidrive if you need this bastard-to-install client to get at it? That cyber cafe is hardly going to have it installed is it. No, it is not. And this is where the beauty comes in. There is also a web client. It is basic, but it is useable. This is another perfect example of the ideas I suggested in my web 2.0 post. A desktop client for the best user experience on the computers you use most and a web client for all those other places where you might be caught on a computer without the client. This gives storage perfection.